Yes, I know what they say about buying a boat. They either always go with the joke about buying a hole in the water to throw your money into or the happiest days of a boat owner’s life are they day they buy the boat & the day they sell it. Well, they don’t have to be right. You can prove them wrong, if you first, educate yourself about owning a boat and also, learn how to take care of it properly. Boats are often treated as toys and that is when the old adage about owning a boat will ring true.
Before buying a boat, it is important to do some research. A boat is a major investment and should be treated as such. Do you pick a spouse on a whim? I hope not. Would you buy a home on a whim? I truly hope not. So, like every other major investment in life, you must consider the possibilities and do some research.
Size: Who will use the boat? Just family or family and friends and their friends too? This can help you determine a size range.
Use: What do you want to use the boat for? Fishing? Water skiing? Cruising? Day Trips? Weekend trips? Buying the proper type of boat for what it will be most used for is crucial. Be honest with yourself about what you intend to use your boat for and pick the type accordingly.
Storage: Not everyone can pull their boat up to their house and park it next to the dock. Where will you put your boat? If you happen to live in a climate where boating occurs year round & have a dock behind your home then great! That is not usually the case though. If you can only use your boat seasonally, where will it go at other times? Storage is a huge expense for boaters so consider this prior to purchase.
Type: Where will you use your boat? Rivers, lakes, bays or the ocean? This is an important consideration because you want to make the most of your boat and purchase the type most suited to your environment.
Cost: Of course the cost of the boat is much more than a sticker price or a monthly payment. How much can you honestly afford? Remember, there are many additional costs such as insurance, maintenance, storage, fuel, registration, instruction and safety courses.
You: Remember to take into account your personality and temperament. You want a boat that matches you, not just what looks cool or your friends would like. Unless of course your friends want to help cover some of it’s costs!
New vs. Used: There are pros and cons for both. A brand spankin’ new boat is gorgeous and under warranty but can still have problems and that is downtime you won’t be able to use it. A new boat means electronics not installed, maybe refrigeration not working, generator issues, audio issues & sometimes delivered with no fuel. So consider those things as potential issues for new. Used boat also have problems, maybe no warranty and then trying to find that exact one can be a headache. If you do purchase used, it wouldn’t hurt to consider having a qualified marine specialist to survey the boat and identify any potential issues.
Boats do not have to be money pits. Just like with any major purchase, you must plan for it in advance, purchase what is right for you, consider all costs & formulate future plans for it. You need to be honest with yourself about what you can afford because the cost is always more than just a monthly payment even if you do take the best care of it. With proper planning & consideration, you can start off your adventure as a boat owner on the right foot!
In the next posting, we will talk about purchasing a used boat and in the event it is too expensive to hire someone, we will identify just what to look out for!
Cliff Hairston, Marine Electrician
Coastie Marine Services, Panama City, FL.